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The Futures of Women's Soccer

April 10th, 2015
11:00 AM


The Futures of Women’s Soccer Symposium coverage: 

The Futures of Women’s Soccer one-day symposium was held at the Forum for Scholars & Publics on April 10, 2015. It brought together scholars, journalists, and former players to discuss the past and future of women’s soccer, exploring how history can help to understand the institutional barriers and models for development that have surrounded women’s participation in the game, and discuss what the best strategies are for cultivating full and equal participation. The symposium also explored the role of sexism in the media and how it influences the coverage of women’s soccer. Also discussed was the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Canada, and what can beexpected from this tournament both on and off the pitch.

The conference was co-organized by Laurent Dubois and Joshua Nadel of North Carolina Central University.

Opening Plenary

“Women and Soccer: Research Agendas and Policy Debates”

10 a.m. -- 11:30 a.m.

By Jean Williams, DeMontfort University


Panel 1: Institutional Impediments and Models of Development

12 - 2 p.m. (A light lunch will be available for all attendees)

How does an understanding of the history of women’s soccer help us understand its current configuration and challenges? What are the best strategies for developing women’s soccer: incorporation into powerful sporting institutions, or cultivating alternative institutions? If we could create the ideal institutional contexts for supporting women’s soccer today, what would they look like?


Brenda Elsey, Professor, Hofstra University

Carla Overbeck, Former Captain of U.S. National Team, and Assistant Coach of Duke University Women’s Soccer

Cindy Parlow Cone, Former player of U.S. National Team & Coach

Jen Schaefer, Emory University

Moderator: Jennifer Doyle, University of California, Riverside


Panel 2: The Role of Media

2:30-4:30 p.m.

How does sexism in the media operate with regards to the representation and coverage of women’s soccer? How has media coverage evolved in the past decades? What kind of role can today’s media – both mainstream outlets and alternative spheres, including social media – play in supporting women’s soccer?


Shireen Ahmed, Writer and Blogger

Jennifer Doyle, Professor, University of California, Riverside

Sarah Gehrke, Media Relations and Social Media, Washington Spirit

Monica Gonzalez, Former player of Mexican National Team & ESPN Analyst

Moderator: Jean Williams, De Montfort University


Header Image: 2015 Women's World Cup Official Poster

Shireen Ahmed

Shireen Ahmed is a writer, public speaker and sports activist focusing on Muslim women in Sports. She is an athlete, advocate, community organizer, and works with Youth of Colour on empowerment projects and is an avid sports coach and mentor. She is ...

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Cindy Parlow Cone

Cindy Parlow Cone is the former head coach for Portland Thorns FC in the National Women's Soccer League, and a retired American professional soccer player and two-time Olympic Gold medalist. Parlow Cone played college soccer at ...

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Jennifer Doyle

University of California, Riverside

Jennifer Doyle is a Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. Her most recent book, Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art (Duke University Press, 2013) explores the idea ...

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Brenda Elsey

Hofstra University

Brenda J. Elsey studies the history of popular culture and politics in 20th-century Latin America, in addition to gender, social theory, and Pan-Americanism. She is a senior editor for Oxford University Press’s Research Essays in Latin American History: Southern Cone. She ...

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Mónica González


Mónica González has been an ESPN soccer commentator since 2011 as a soccer commentator, when she covered the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011.  González serves as a sideline reporter for select events, including the U.S. Men’s and Women’...

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Carla Overbeck

Duke University

Carla Overbeck is a retired American soccer player and longtime member and captain of the United States women's national soccer team. She is currently an assistant coach of Duke University's women's soccer team, where she has been ...

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Jennifer L. Schaefer

Emory University

Jennifer L. Schaefer is a doctoral candidate in Latin American History at Emory University. Her dissertation, “Rebels, Martyrs, Heroes: Authoritarianism and Youth Culture in Argentina, 1966-1983,” analyzes how young people mobilized the symbolic power of these archetypes through public acts of commemoration. She earned ...

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Jean Williams

University of Wolverhampton/JJHeritage Consultancy

Jean Williams is the leading global scholar of women's football. She is Professor of Sport and Athena Swan Academic Lead at the University of Wolverhampton and consults with museums, arts and heritage organizations, including Silverstone motor ...

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